9 Tips For Flying With A Pet

Flying with a pet makes you nervous? Here are 9 tips from seasoned travelers to help you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable flight.

dog sniff papers.

Flying with a pet doesn’t have to be scary

If you have to fly with a pet, you’re probably scared. Arranging your pet’s reservation and obtaining all the necessary documents can be nerve-wracking. And then there is concern for your pet’s safety during the flight. You may even have considered driving to your destination instead. But if time is a factor or you’re relocating to another part of the world, flying may be your only option.

If that’s the case, consider that millions of animals fly each year in the United States alone. We hear about the tragedies and mishaps in the media, but the vast majority of pets in the cargo make it safely. Part of flying safely with a pet starts with you. Be sure to research the airline and speak to staff before and during your flight to calm your fears. And by following the tips below, you’ll feel more prepared for your flight, allowing you both to fly with a little less stress.

Live animal stickers on a plastic kennel on an airport runway

Tips for flying safely with a pet

1. Talk to your veterinarian

The first step in flying with a pet is making an appointment with your veterinarian. You want to make sure your pet is in good health to fly. If you get the green light from your vet to travel, make a second appointment just before your departure date. Then check with the airline and state veterinarian at destination to determine what documents you need. It’s not uncommon for airlines to require a health certificate within 10 days of your flight.

Dog on airport floor with feet.

2. Make sure your pet’s breed is unrestricted

More than ever, airlines are imposing restrictions on dog and cat breeds, particularly brachycephalic or “short-nosed” breeds like Boston Terriers, Boxers and Bulldogs, among others. Some airlines will allow you to fly with your short-nosed pet in the cabin as long as they meet size and weight guidelines, but always check with your airline beforehand.

READ MORE ⇒ US Airline Pet Police

Tips for flying with a pet

3. Book in advance

Airlines allow a limited number of pets per flight, so book early to ensure you get the flight you want. Especially if you are traveling with your pet in the cargo or internationalmake sure to make your reservations well in advance as requirements can take months to prepare.

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4. Acclimate your pet to the kennel

Buy your kennel on time and start accustoming your pet to being in this area. Similar to cage training, your goal is to get your pet to think of the kennel as a den — a safe, comfortable place that they enjoy being in.

To help your pet develop a positive association with the kennel, feed them a few weeks before your flight. Put her bed and some favorite toys inside to show her it’s her place to play, sleep and chill out.

9 tips for flying with a pet |  GoPetFriendly.com

For the flight, line the kennel with a dog travel cot and cover it with puppy pads just in case an accident happens during the flight.

9 tips for flying with a pet |  GoPetFriendly.com

5. Do not give your pet tranquilizers

Sedatives are not recommended for inflight pets because they can interfere with a dog’s ability to control body heat at high altitude. If you’re concerned that your pet might be anxious, think about it CBD oil or treats (be sure to check CBD oil flying regulations), soothing drops, or a vest designed to calm your pet.

6. Ask to board early

If you are flying with a pet you may be able to board early – just ask. It may take some time for you and your pet to get into position before your flight, and a few extra minutes can help you stay calm.

READ MORE ⇒ Fly with your cat for the first time

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7. Have your pet’s health records ready

Each airline sets its own requirements for pets flying in the cabin and in cargo. Determine what documents your airline requires and keep them handy so you can easily present them when asked by different employees.

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8. Visit wildlife sanctuaries before flying

Most airports are now required to offer pet facilitation areas. Before your flight, plan the closest one to your terminal for efficient potty breaks during the stopover. Alaska Airlines put this together to help locate animal sanctuaries comprehensive list at airports they serve or ask the airline gate staff.

Keep in mind that as locations are often indoors and on artificial grass, your pet may not want to leave. Have a puppy pad handy in case your pet decides to dispose of it somewhere outside of the pet relief area.

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9. Bring a chew toy for takeoff and landing

Like humans, pressure builds up in your pet’s ears during takeoff and landing. You may notice your pet flapping its ears or shaking its head frequently. Give him a chew toy or hard chewable treats to help relieve discomfort.

Follow these tips and you and your pet can have a safe and comfortable flight.

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